Guernica Magazine

In Search of an Ending

T Kira Madden's Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls charts a new path forward for millennial memoirs. The post In Search of an Ending appeared first on Guernica.
Illustration by Alana Salguero

“When I grow up, after I leave this town, I tuck in alone at night, listen to the garbage trucks lift and crash their arms through the New York freeze. I sip lukewarm water from a clay mug on my nightstand. Three A.M.—bewitched. Just last week I had a father.”

Here’s what I suspect: T Kira Madden’s Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is the forerunner of a new phase of creative non-fiction. That paragraph is from the memoir’s introduction. You might spot shades of Renata Adler or Elizabeth Hardwick in those confident, descriptive sentences, but with the time shifts and object fixations that give this book a lurking instability all its own.

The sensationalist plot summary of this sequence of banded essays, which doesn’t capture the lyric experience of reading it, would be something like “the niece of Steve Madden grows up queer and biracial in the Rat’s Mouth, Florida, as her parents battle alcohol and opiate addictions.” We should be—and too often in this industry aren’t—transparent. T Kira is

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